Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coates on Fitzhugh

Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose blog at The Atlantic I probably should get more in the habit of looking at from time to time, has been writing a series of posts reflecting on his reading of George Fitzhugh, one of the antebellum South's intellectual defenders of slavery, to whom I had occasion to refer here. In this post Coates quotes from Fitzhugh's Cannibals All and proceeds to observe, among other things, that Fitzhugh "almost has no regard of labor as an individual value." As I mentioned in "The Dignity of Labor", this is precisely one of the ways in which mid-19th-century Northerners answered Fitzhugh's critique of nascent industrial capitalism. But although Fitzhugh is, of course, defending an indefensible system, Coates finds some passages to admire, for instance here. I personally don't find these particular excerpts quite as riveting, but these things are subjective.

(P.s. Coates is also on to Moby Dick; see Holbo here.)

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